I thought Ashes was going to be a different type of story. The way it begins suggests a mediation on death. It ends up though, being a more traditional sort of story.
The human colony on Alluvium suffers under the heels of tyrant lizard-people (Peshari), and Phil is slowly but surely dying. It turns out he’s more concerned with the former than the latter. The heart of the story is Phil’s discovery of a weakness to the lizard-people. That part SHOULD work, but for the previously mentioned that threw me off and the format. Ashes really could have worked with the discovery process being drawn out and the aftermath coming on-screen.
But I shouldn’t say that it doesn’t work. It does, because Rinehart has crafted a compelling story and crafted it well. But I was a little thrown off because I thought it was signaling a different sort of story in the beginning. And it would have worked better as part of a larger story.